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Successes/Failures of 2017

A detailed account of a Fastlane process...


Bronze Contributor
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Speedway Pass
Nov 28, 2017
Maybe this would be better as a "progress" thread but I wanted to details some of my failures, successes and future plans for 2018 so that maybe someone just starting out can learn from them. Also, I have the flu and am couch-ridden so not much else I can do right now ;)

This year I tried a number of things which were failures for one reason or another but I will stick to talking about what I think will be most helpful, my little Amazon business.

Amazon FBA
Product 1-
I spent ages trying to find the "perfect" product, then decided to jump into a market that has some pretty stiff competition and try to compete. It paid off! I've sold about 1200 units and have 60 reviews, mainly positive. Here are mistakes and things that went well:
Mistake #1: Expensive Freight Forwarder: With my first shipment of 1000 units, I used a forwarder I found recommended online. He was difficult to communicate with and greatly delayed my shipping by his inaccessibiity, only finally getting back to me when I said I was firing him. After that shipment I asked my manufacturer for a recommendation for someone within China- I saved $2000 the next time!!
Mistake #2: Oversized Goods: After my first 500 sales, my goods were suddenly classified as "oversized" and I ended up paying an additional $3.50 per unit, eliminating my margins. The amount they were oversized by? 0.01 inches on one side. I fought Amazon to no avail, but then recently a Christmas miracle happened: they remeasured and finally found it to be standard-sized and agreed to give me back my money! Lesson learned- if you are anywhere close to oversized, change your packaging or the mold.
Win #1: Contacting an Influencer: My product doesn't seem like something that would be attractive to influencers, but I found a doctor who recommends similar products to mine on his blog. I read his book, emailed him telling him what I loved about it, and also mentioned that I noticed he didn't have a product like mine in the book, and what if I sent him some for his patients? I sent him 20, and he ended up talking about it on his youtube channel from which I have already had some sales!
A friend of mine also heard someone on a podcast looking for a product like mine. I gave her a follow on Instagram, and asked her if I could send her one free, and also if she would be open to doing a giveaway of some to her followers, and she said yes! (Still in progress)
Win #2: Doing Just a Little More: I reply to all reviews that are more than a sentence. If someone took the time to leave me a review, I want to show I appreciate their time. I have a website where I blog about the things I've learned about the condition that people who buy my product have. I have my phone number listed if people want to talk. It's hard to say how much it's paid off to focus on this product, but I like to think it helps!

Product 2- I decided to tackle the French market with a different product, because my husband and I noticed the infographics in the photos were all in German or English. My husband is French so we knew we could add some value there. Now we sell about 1 a day in Amazon France, and it's been only a couple months! Lesson: if you speak another language, use it to your advantage.

Product 3- I recently listed a product that was sort of "scratching my own itch"- something made in the USA that I was looking for and couldn't find. It was annoyingly hands-on to put it together, and I really took a risk because I hadn't verified the demand, but now I sell at least one per day at a healthy margin (with only one review) and will have to restock soon! Lesson: sometimes it pays off to take a leap of faith.

I have a few new products that are in transit and will soon be listed, so I am excited to see how they fare!

My big project for 2018: breaking into the food business! This is something I've been sitting on for a while, and I know people will think I am foolish for splitting my attention. But I am putting my youngest child into preschool 2 days per week starting next week, so I will be gaining a lot of time to pursue this, and Amazon is becoming less involved all the time. I will soon be traveling to meet my co-packer, and sold my shares from my former employer to fund the venture. If anyone wants to hear about how it goes, I would be happy to share my experience.

I am super out of it so I hope that's readable and maybe even helpful, and I hope you all have a meaningful and purpose-driven 2018!
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Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Speedway Pass
Dec 27, 2017
North Carolina
Sounds like some great progress and great lessons learned! 2018 is going to be a great year for you and I am looking forward to your progress thread updates.

Thanks for sharing and I hope you feel better! By the way, N-Acetyl-Cysteine will cut your time to recovery from the flu down by as much as 50%. Wishing you the best -- Happy New Year!


Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Speedway Pass
Sep 6, 2017
You’ve had a great year. I hope you feel better soon and I look forward to hearing how 2018 goes - preschool gives you back SO much time! Give it your all.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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